Police race bias closed bar, Greeno claims
Rutland City faces a federal civil rights law suit, filed by former bar owner Charles “Chip” Greeno March 21 in U.S. District Court. Claiming law enforcement targeted his business because of the race of his clientele, Greeno seeks damages “in excess of $75,000.”
Greeno’s business, The Local, 24 Merchants Row, closed its doors Feb. 8. In his seven-page suit, Greeno claimed there had been no difficulties at The Local until summer 2012. At that time, city police had begun maintaining a visible presence outside the bar. Greeno’s suit centers on police believing that the bar’s African-American patrons were drug dealers, and that the ongoing police presence drove away his customers. Baker supporters, however, praise the former police chief, now director of advocacy at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, as promoting bias-free policies. Among Baker’s defenders are Curtiss Reed, Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity executive director, and Christopher Louras, former Rutland City mayor. An August 2016 fight outside The Local attracted the attention of the state Liquor Control Board, which suspended its license for 21 days, noting it was the fourth citation in two years. Greeno’s attorney, Matt Hart, claims the police had forced Greeno out of business.
Honors and accomplishments
Rutland Town seventh-graders raised money for the Water for South Sudan nonprofit by hosting a dance March 16 in the school gymnasium. They also sold baked goods and jewelry, raising altogether $331.
Rutland High violinists Nova Wang and Cameron Clark performed Mar. 16-18 in the 90th annual New England Music Festival in Norwalk, Conn. They performed in a group of 86 young musicians from across New England.
Rutland Regional Medical Center recently named Dr. James F. Cromie, M.D., FACS, Physician of the Year for his dedication and skill. He joined RRMC’s general surgical team in 2012. The hospital also named Bethany Stack its Physician Assistant of the Year. She works as a physician’s assistant at the Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic.
The College of St. Joseph named psychology major freshman Doug Campbell its Student of the Month. A member of the school’s Provider Scholarship Program, Campbell is a Middlebury native. CSJ recognizes his dedication to the college community, academic success and engagement within the community. In addition to time spent volunteering though the Provider Program, Campbell is a member of the College’s men’s soccer team.
Changes at Rutland County Parent-Child
Caprice Hover plans to leave her leadership position at the Rutland County Parent-Child Center, a position she has held for nearly eight years, for the “holistic business consulting” field, serving both businesses and non-profit groups. Will Gormley, president of the center’s board of directors, said Hover had transformed the organization, making it financially stable. The organization’s programs include parenting classes, case management, early education, and services for children with developmental issues. It is preparing to move into the renovated former United States School of Professional Paperhanging building on Chaplin Avenue, a regeneration made possible by a $257,000 grant that Hover secured.
Rutland Town Select Board reorganizes
RUTLAND TOWN—The Select Board reelected Selectman Josh Terenzini as its chair during its reorganizational meeting, Mar. 21. Standing committees will retain their current configuration; the board is also creating three new committees to focus on entertainment, recreation, town website upgrading, and water and sewer concerns.
Terenzini and Selectman John Paul Faignant form the entertainment committee and will work with the recreation department in planning the Fourth of July celebration, another townwide event for the preceding weekend, and events in the future. Terenzini is also half of another two-person committee, this time with Selectman Mary Ashcroft, with the goal of making the town website more user-friendly, with a $2,500 budget for the current fiscal year as a starting point.
The water and sewer committee will begin mapping the town’s fire districts and water mains and pipes, list payment policies, and define the town’s relationship with Rutland City.
Election tactics complaint
Off-duty firefighters who held up signs supporting David Allaire at polling places in March or stood with him at honk-and-wave demonstrations violated the law, mayoral candidate Kam Johnston complained. Doing so violates the city charter section on political activity, section 9.23.10, that prohibits any city fire department member from taking part in a number of political activities, he charged. He also said that Allaire’s private preelection meeting with firefighters violates Allaire’s pledge for returning trust and transparency to the mayor’s office.
Allaire said he had not known of the charter rules, nor was the meeting with the firefighters’ union secret; it was the result of an invitation to all candidates to discuss Rutland’s future.
International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2323 president Seth Bride said firefighters were unaware of the charter language and ceased their public support when the city clerk informed them that the charter prohibited the activity. Bride said he believes that part of the charter violates the members’ constitutional rights for free speech and equal protection, and that the police and fire departments are the only elements of the city workforce that are so restricted. Bride said that Allaire and Michael Coppinger are the only two mayoral candidates that came to meet with the union, but that all four were invited. Johnston denied having received an invitation.